#4 ways to say no with zero guilt

Have you ever been tempted to say yes to something simply because you didn’t want to seem rude or unhelpful?

The good news is, you’re not alone. The bad news is, it’s a very common problem, one that usually carries a ton of guilt along with it.

Saying no can be a huge struggle, especially if you’ve spent most of your life trying to accommodate other’s feelings.

However, adding no to your present vocabulary will not only save your sanity but it will help define clear boundaries with those around you.

Here are 4 simple ways that you can start saying no and still walk away guilt free.

1. Give Yourself Time: When faced with a situation where you feel drawn to say no, it’s helpful to give yourself a little time delay before giving an answer. Start by developing key go-to statements that you can pull out at a moment’s notice such as, “I’ll have to think about that. I’ll get back with you,” or “Let me check my...

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How saying ‘no’ helped me with an anti-money laundering inspection

If there wasn’t enough stress to deal with last year with the ongoing pandemic and all the changes that came with it, plus the loss of my beloved Dachshund of 17 years, an email dropped into my inbox mid-November telling me that I had been chosen to have an anti-money laundering inspection.

Funnily enough, I never usually get chosen for anything. I’m the kind of person that if I were the only one in a raffle draw, I wouldn’t get chosen. But hey, not this time! Of all the things to get picked for.

My heart sunk. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I was dreading it.

For those of you who are new to the VA world, by law, virtual assistants who provide bookkeeping services have to be supervised to ensure they are compliant with anti-money laundering regulations.*

The situation didn’t start off well.

Initially I wasn’t sure whether the email was real. I received an email from the supervisory body advising me of the inspection but also another...

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Virtual Assistant Dream or Nightmare?

Last year I set myself some personal challenges – not New Year resolutions btw. Around springtime I sat myself down and spent some time reflecting on why I started my business and how far I had come because I was feeling tired and uninspired. 

The good news was that after 20 years, I was still trading. According to some of my friends and associates, that was me being successful. 

The not so good news was that I felt like I’d spent most of the last 20 years of running my business in what I call ‘survival mode’. Just getting on with the job. 

From 6 weeks of founding my business, I’ve been blessed with being in demand and having a heavy workload. But, because of this, I had so much work to do I concentrated on getting it done without concentrating on the bigger picture. The bigger picture being the after-effects on my health, life and finances (I’ll go into more in another post).

Reflecting back made me realize that I have done...

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At the end of my tether

Sam and I spent a week away in the Adventure Van at the beginning of October.  We had four lovely days in the Lake District and the rest of the time relaxing in Moffat, Scotland.  
 
This was a perfect opportunity to test out the newly installed virtual private network (VPN) using wi-fi provided on the caravan sites.
 
Turns out the VPN wasn’t an issue but the wi-fi was.  I didn’t manage to get connected on either site due to a poor signal.
 
I did have a giggle to myself when I tried logging on to the wi-fi in Scotland. A message popped up to tell me to move closer to the router.  Not that easy when we were snuggled down in the caravan on a wet autumn day, having been allocated a bay at the far end of the site.  I wasn’t going to sit outside the site reception in the rain on my laptop so I could be closer!
 
In the end I tethered my mobile to my laptop so it was still important to have the VPN...

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The invisible villain and why you need a VPN

Well, I’ve begun looking into how I can work safely on the internet (and not use all my mobile data allowance) whilst we’re away in the Adventure Van. And my goodness, it’s been an eye opener!

I’ll start by saying that I believe most of us are fairly security conscious. We lock our doors and windows, we leave things out of sight when we park our cars, we look out for any suspicious activity in the neighbourhood.

But what if I told you that it isn’t just the villains on the outside of our homes we need to watch out for anymore. We are unwittingly inviting invisible, silent villains into our homes. Many of them are corporate companies as well as lone wolfs (hackers), all because most of us don’t actually realise what’s going on in the background. 

To put things into context, here are a couple of my findings:

  • Internet service providers (who you buy your broadband accounts from) can, and do, follow and save our every online movements whilst...
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Croeso i Gymru

The last time I stayed in a caravan was many, many moons ago when I used to go on holiday to Scotland as a child with my siblings and parents. I wasn’t quite sure how our maiden voyage would go in the Adventure Van. It’s a bit different when you’re an adult. There’s a lot more to think about.

Having managed to finally book a caravan pitch after calling 6 different camp sites, all we had to do was pack everything we needed, hitch up the van and away we ago.

If only life was that simple.

Unless you do your research before setting off (which thankfully we did) you have to take into consideration the amount your car can tow and the weight of everything you want to take with you. Not to mention the nose weight of the caravan when everything is packed.

Yes, I know. Nose weight. Who knew?

With all the technical stuff checked, backing the caravan out onto a main road was a little bit hair raising. Thank goodness our van came kitted out with wheel movers and a remote...

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From board games to big ideas

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Last week I ‘fessed up to how I’ve felt lately. Sam and I have both missed our annual outdoor adventures which is partly why my head has not been fully in the game.

One night I was laid on the couch watching something or other on tv when Sam handed me his iPad. He loves sifting through eBay finding vintage Lego and jigsaws.

“Look at that” he said, “There’s a whole pile of board games and jigsaws but look what comes with them for the price!”

I looked. Then looked again in disbelief.

“Shame all the board games and jigsaws come too,” I said teasingly.

Then at the same time, a little light bulb switched on in both our brains. Sometimes we don’t need to say anything to know what each other is thinking.

We both realised that this could be a way to get back into the wider world with minimum impact on other people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Spoiler Alert: It’s not earth shattering!

The board games and jigsaws came...

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Lockdown Blues

Things have to change.  I am going to be honest.  My head has not been in the game recently. I’ve been suffering from cabin fever for a while now.  Since the pandemic started, I have hardly ventured out apart from walking the dogs around the block once a day. 

Normally Sam and I are lucky enough to have been abroad once, maybe twice by this time of year, and had many great adventures in between.  We LOVE to explore.

By the end of summer, we would normally have completed a charity walk, usually around 25 - 30 miles, to raise funds for our chosen charities and been on many walks beforehand to build up to the big day.

We would have travelled to Wales and Scotland visiting parents, with day trips and weekends away involving walks along the beach, bacon butties and large pieces of cake. 

Of course, this year everything has been put on hold.  

Now don’t get me wrong.  I completely understand why everything is as it is – this...

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How to win back your mojo to keep doing the work you love – Part 2

In my previous blog I covered 5 ideas about how to get your motivation back.

Here are six further ideas to win back your motivation and fall in love with your work all over again.

1. Align your work with your life purpose
If you combine your area of genius with a deep, inner life purpose that drives you, regaining your motivation comes naturally.

Your life purpose is not external, like “teaching kids to play football”. That would just be a manifestation of what drives you.

The sort of life purpose to identify and embrace is spiritual, even if you are not.

It gives your life meaning.

It’s something you want to live for every day, like “leading by example”.

2. Journal
Even if you don’t like journaling, this is a highly useful tool to embrace when you are on an inner journey. Articulating your thoughts on paper helps you quickly see through premises or statements that aren’t really true (just as it does if you talk about a topic in a group). It...

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How to win back your mojo to keep doing the work you love

Feeling a little unmotivated? You know you’ve got things to do but just don’t feel like making the effort?

We ALL feel like that from time to time. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.

BUT…

If you’re running your own business or in the process of getting your VA/freelance business up and running, girl, you’ve got to get up and move on. And quick, before the rot sets in!

Question: What do you do, (or would you do) if a client were demotivated? How do you help your clients to motivate themselves?

Answer: You ask questions, encourage them, call them out on avoidant or excuse-based behaviour, praise them for steps forward.

ALL of this you can apply to yourself.

Become YOUR OWN client.

Here are five ideas to win back your motivation and fall in love with your work all over again.

1. Recognise that goals and paths are two different things
You’ve been focusing on your goal but not really getting closer. Your business is much too busy, and you feel...

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